What She Does As director of the Houston Center for Photography, Dubrowski is responsible for working with members, staff and the HCP board to establish the vision and direction of the small Montrose museum, something she says is a privilege.
"Photography is changing every day. It's how we tell our stories. Our goal here is to educate people and share our vision," she said. Dubrowski's other roles include managing the museum's 30-year archive, editing HCP's magazine, spot, and its accompanying Web site, and dreaming up big ideas for the museum's education center.
"I work with exhibition staff to see what photographers are making. That's one of the most fun parts of what I do. I'm also thinking of who would make good teachers."
Dubrowski has been executive director at HCP for four years. Before that, she worked at the center as a volunteer for two years, and had been on the Board of Directors for all of two months when the previous executive director left. She is also a photographer herself -- she studied art history and contemporary photography at Emory University in Atlanta.
"I was just so entrenched in it [photography] from the time I made my first image," she said.
Why She Likes It "I love constantly seeing new images that surprise me. Of all the billions of images made in the world, people are still making things that are new. There's this endless potential."
"We're also educating people. We teach everything from tintype to iPhonography here," she said. She talks about trying to keep up with the technology of photography, perhaps the only art form to be so tool-oriented. "It's the only type of artist talk where the artist gets that question -- what tools did you use."
She also loves the size of her organization. It's small enough, she said, that decisions can be made quickly. But the center still has a 30-year history behind it, "so we're not just starting out."
What Inspires Her "Obviously the people I work with. Peggy Guggenheim said you collect the art of your time. My friends inspire me. We're all starting to have kids and continuing to work."
Dubrowski then pointed to the walls of the library at HCP. "There are 3,500 volumes of work here," she said. "These people all inspire me. Making a great photograph, it takes guts."
Four months ago, Dubrowski gave birth to her first child, a daughter. "You just have to be so present and so 'on.' My husband Dan is also a great inspiration."
If Not This, Then What? "This is the hardest question of all," Dubrowski said. "I always knew I'd be in photography and in the arts. But right after college, I crewed on a sailboat in the Virgin Islands. I would do that again."
If Not Here, Then Where? After college, Dubrowski moved back to Houston to help out her sister Blakely Bering, who owned Bering and James Art Gallery with her husband. Dubrowski started the gallery's photography division in 2006.
"I was born in Houston. I love Houston. My family and friends are here. My dad's side has been here since the 1840s -- they worked in hardware and lumber and helped build the city. In my own way, I'm carrying on the tradition of making Houston the interesting city it is."
And if not Houston?
"I'd probably be somewhere in the islands."
What's Next? Dubrowki just returned from maternity leave with her daughter, and was heartened to see how well the HCP staff did without her.
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"I feel like I can focus on the long-term vision of HCP instead of the day-to-day tasks." Her two main goals are to further develop the learning center and the spot Web site.
She's also going to Portland in April for Photolucida -- an event similar to Houston's FotoFest -- to do portfolio reviews. And she just found out that Houston Center for Photography has received a $20,000 marketing grant from the Houston Arts Alliance, which will help her spread the word about the Houston Center for Photography.
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